Results tagged ‘ Willie Mays ’

Always Making Adjustments — Brandon Crawford

Wish we could have kept the win streak going so Willie Mays could have had a happier birthday. But with 10 wins in the last 14 games, we’re climbing out of the hole we dug for ourselves last month.

I didn’t get a hit today, but with my 3-for-3 yesterday my batting average is higher right now than my career average, and somehow I’m leading the team in home runs and RBIs. I’m pretty confident I will not be holding that spot when the season’s over. I know my strength is defense, but I always expect to contribute at the plate, too. I know it’s in me to hit  higher than .250.

So, like every hitter in here, I’m always trying to make myself better. So last month, when — despite the home runs — I found myself swinging and missing more than usual, I needed to figure out why. I realized I was getting a lot more off-speed pitches than usual. It started with that first series on the road against the Padres. I had seen mostly fastballs in our season-opening series against Arizona. So when the Padres went with mostly off-speed stuff, I wasn’t really prepared. Then other teams started doing it, too.

Usually, about 60 percent of the pitches I’d see would be fastballs. I knew I wasn’t seeing that many, so I went and looked it up. Sure enough, fewer than 50 percent of the pitches were fastballs.

So I had to adjust. I had to get better at handling off-speed pitches. It’s tough to practice that, though, because in almost every batting practice you’re seeing only fastballs. You can program the pitching machine in the batting cage to throw whatever you want, but I don’t find it really useful. You know the pitch is coming and you can just sit on it. You get into that rhythm, and it’s not realistic. Although . . . having said that, I am sitting on the change-up or curveball more. And if I get a fastball, I can still try to take it.

Chad Chop has helped me get better. He’s one of our batting practice pitchers. He joined the Giants last year, and he’s little younger and stronger than the other ones we have. So I’ve gotten him to mix the pitches up to me. He’ll toss in a change-up or curve among the fastballs. And he’s a lefty. It’s probably why I’m hitting left-handed pitchers better.

Glad to see my fellow Brandon get his rhythm back, as he talked about in his blog post this week. He went 2-for-3 today, crushing a double and triple to the wall, and is 6-for-13 with four doubles and one triple in his last four games. He knows I carried Team Brandon (our hitting group) last month. I told him he had to step up in May. I’m happy I could give him the motivation he needed.

Thanks for coming out to all the games and sticking with us through a rough month. It’s a long season, and I think sometimes people — even in baseball — lose sight of that.

And thanks for reading!

From autograph seeker to autograph signer – Brandon Crawford

I was one of those kids who knew every player on every team in baseball. I was, and still am, a major fan. My dad took me to spring training in Arizona every year. My family had Giants season tickets at Candlestick then AT&T – I grew in Pleasanton. So I was always getting autographs. I kept my baseball cards organized by team and position so I could pull out the right card immediately. But I’m a quiet guy, so my approach was to wait for someone else to call out the player’s name and I’d just have my stuff ready for them to sign.

I have Willie Mays, Will Clark, Robby Thompson, J.T. Snow, Rich Aurilia. Almost every Giants player, I think. One of my favorites, though, is the card and ball signed by Ken Griffey Jr., who everybody tried to get when he came through town. I also went with my dad to signings at the convention center and the Cow Palace. He has tons of balls, cards, magazines – all kinds of signed memorabilia.

Now I’m on the other side of the equation. It’s important to me to sign as much as I can. But now I understand why players can’t sign for everyone who wants one. It’s just not possible. Yesterday I was in the early batting group in BP so I could sign for a little longer. The day before that I was in the last group. When you’re in the last group, you really don’t have a whole lot of time because you have to go into the clubhouse and get ready.

It’s tricky because no matter how long you sign you can’t get to everyone. You can sign for ten minutes but the people who are just getting down there, they don’t know you’ve been signing for ten minutes. So they might think you’re some jerk who’s not signing for anybody. You know it’s not true, but still it’s tough to just walk away from people who are calling out your name, especially kids. But I guess you have to get used to it a little bit.

On the road it’s a little tougher to have time to sign because our batting practice is after the home team’s, so when we’re done it’s almost game time. But I try to sign at least ten people before I go in. I’m surprised at how many Giants fans we have all over the country. It’s great to see the Orange and Black in the stands. We definitely hear them, especially in San Diego. It feels almost like a home game sometimes there. They don’t get a huge home crowd, so the Giants fans stand out. I remember last year in San Diego when Pablo had a big hitting streak, you could hear boos when they walked him.

As for fan mail, one of the best was an envelope from Japan. A guy there drew a picture of me and sent it to me along with a baseball card. I signed the card but the picture was a gift. I thought that was really nice.

Sometimes I’ll get a card with four or five of the same cards to sign. You figure they’re selling them. So every now and then I’ll keep one because my parents like to have my cards. And sometimes I’ll personalize the cards so they’re not as likely to go on eBay.

Unlike Brandon Belt, I’m not going to the wine country on my day off Monday. I’ll stay around the house with my wife or go visit my parents and sisters. Maybe I’ll find Romo and Tim Lincecum online playing Call of Duty and we’ll play together as a team against other teams. Exciting, huh?

Then on Tuesday it’s back to the park against the Marlins.

I’ll see you there and hope I’m in the early batting group so I have more time to sign!

-Brandon C.




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